The United States is proud to partner with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to accelerate development progress, promote sustainability, and respond to the climate crisis. SIDS, which are situated in areas of strategic importance around the world, including in the Indo-Pacific, Western Hemisphere, and Africa, are disproportionately affected by the impacts of multiple global crises, including the climate impacts of sea-level rise and extreme weather events. They have been vital partners, sharing our interest in: fostering a freer, more open Pacific region; strengthening our shared democratic values, economic prosperity, and regional security in the Caribbean; and promoting maritime security, combatting drug and other forms of trafficking, and protecting the environment in the Indian Ocean.

The U.S. delegation to the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) on May 27-30 was led by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and included high-level representatives from the White House, U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). 

Since 2015, the United States has invested over $5 billion in foreign assistance and continues to expand its diplomatic presence and development programming in SIDS.  At SIDS4 and in the lead-up to the Conference, the United States announced a number of new projects and initiatives aimed at enhancing our partnerships with SIDS, promoting climate resilience, and building capacity to help SIDS advance their priorities, including: 

Deepening Partnerships

  • The Biden-Harris Administration released the first ever U.S.-Pacific Partnership Strategy in 2022 and is working with Congress on plans to provide over $8 billion in new funding and programs for the Pacific Islands.    
  • Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the United States has increased its high-level engagement in the Pacific Islands by expanding our diplomatic and development presence in the region.  This includes opening new embassies in Solomon Islands and Tonga with plans to open another in Vanuatu later in 2024.   
  • USAID has opened a new regional Pacific Island Mission in Fiji and enhanced its presence in Papua New Guinea.  Furthermore, over 60 Peace Corps Volunteers have returned to Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga, with more scheduled to arrive in Vanuatu (2024) and Palau (2025).   
  • In March 2024, the U.S. Congress appropriated $7.1 billion in funding to implement agreements related to the Compacts of Free Association with the Freely Associated States (Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Republic of Palau).  These funds ensure continued U.S. Postal Services to the FAS as well as $6.5 billion in direct economic assistance to support the environment, health, education, and infrastructure.   
  • The Millennium Challenge Corporation recently announced several new initiatives with SIDS.  MCC’s board selected Cabo Verde to develop a regional compact to support economic growth through stronger regional trade and integration.  MCC plans to seek board approval of a $125 million compact in Belize to increase the quality of education and reduce high electricity costs, both which are recognized as key development challenges.  And finally, in Kiribati, MCC signed a $26 million threshold program intended to advance Kiribati-led economic growth by supporting the Ministry of Employment and Human Resources to promote safe, accessible, decent, and inclusive employment opportunities for Kiribati workers and to strengthen workers’ rights and resilience. 
  • The Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation, which includes several SIDS in the Caribbean and West Africa, is building an Atlantic community to share experiences and best practices on sustainable economic development, scientific capacity building, and environmental protection.  The United States is working with Congress to provide $10 million to support these efforts.  
  • The public-private partnership, the Coalition for Climate Entrepreneurship, will open a Caribbean Climate Hub in Kingston, Jamaica with local partner the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship.  The hub will provide programming, training, and mentorship and facilitate access to capital for climate entrepreneurs throughout the Caribbean. 
  • The United States, through the U.S. Department of State, was pleased to provide $300,000 to Antigua and Barbuda to support the hosting of SIDS4.  The U.S. Government also provided in-person security training and equipment for law enforcement personnel in advance of SIDS4 and security during the conference, providing real time U.S expertise on crisis preparedness and maritime security.  In addition, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez, a fast response cutter homeported in Puerto Rico, made a scheduled port visit during the conference, demonstrating U.S. commitment to partnership in the Caribbean on search and rescue, law enforcement, and regional security.

Addressing the Climate Crisis

  • In recognition of the uniquely profound threat of climate change to SIDS, the United States is working in partnership with SIDS around the world to build resilience to extreme weather events, sea-level rise and other climate-related impacts.  The State Department is working with Congress to provide over $27 million for SIDS climate priorities this year.  
    • This includes more than $16 million delivered through the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) to co-develop and strengthen climate information and early warning systems in the Pacific and support for the Local2030 Islands Network, including building community resilience and measuring progress at the local level.  
    • These investments will unlock financing to help SIDS advance climate resilience priorities and to expand clean energy infrastructure in SIDS.  This includes support to help design and stand up the Pacific Resilience Facility – a Pacific-designed and -owned funding facility that will provide community-based grants for climate adaptation and resilience.  
    • Funds will also provide on-demand support to help establish green shipping corridors for SIDS and strengthen institutional capacity to deploy climate-resilient energy infrastructure development.  
  • The United States has provided nearly $100 million in new resources to increase access to climate finance, accelerate the transition to renewable energy, and build resilience to climate change and natural disasters under the U.S. Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030 (PACC 2030) established in 2022.

Advancing Capacity Building

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in partnership with the Department of State, is providing $10 million for capacity building efforts and training on heat-health early warning systems in the Caribbean and multi-hazard early warning systems on excessive rainfall and drought in the Pacific.  
  • NOAA, with funding from USAID and the Department of State, has trained over 300 meteorologists from the Pacific and Caribbean over the past 23 years to enhance climate resilience through improved forecasts for weather and climate events, including extreme events.  
  • Since 2010, the United States has committed more than $912 million in economic and security assistance, including $82 million last year, through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) to build Caribbean partners’ capacity to disrupt illicit trafficking and transnational crime, advancing Caribbean and U.S. citizen security.  CBSI programs are designed to address shared U.S-Caribbean security priorities including illicit firearms trafficking, border and port security, and maritime law enforcement, countering transnational organized crime, and preventing youth crime and violence.  
  • The Department of the Interior, working with Congress, intends to provide this year more than $700,000 for government and administrative capacity building programs.  One specific initiative called the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) ensures students from Pacific and Caribbean insular areas have access to programs centered on higher education and building workforce capacity across all sectors.  The ELDP assists insular island governments with developing and retaining qualified and skilled staff to lead their respective governments into the future. 


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